Removing the Roller Coaster
September 1, 2006 Grade Reduction

I always hated the "Roller Coaster", a short section of track on the northern part of the main loop that followed the curvature of the land instead of maintaining a constant grade over it.

Image 1: Early photo of the Roller Coaster

I knew I was in trouble when I had difficulty making the vertical bend over the section with the rail, I don't even have a good photo of the old grade because it was not very photogenic, so I never took any pictures of it. The worst part was that it was the steepest grade on the line, albeit, the shortest.

Image 2: Roller Coaster removed

So I took up the track and regraded the right-of-way, using a string as a guide. The grade is now twice as long, but half as steep, making it now the second steepest on the line. It doesn't look like it, but I had to remove about 2500 pounds of earth to make the track straight.

Image 3: The New Grade

Now here's the new grade. I still have to level and straighten it. I had visitors coming over and put the rail down rather quickly. But now the grade is consistant from the Silver Creek bridge to the Yard level.

Image 4: View from Silver Creek bridge

Now that's what I call "Trackwork"!
I need to reinstall the grade crossing just beyond the bridge.

Image 5: Visitors testing the new grade

I didn't make it. My guests arrived before I could get the last rail spiked down. I estimated the grade reduction would shorten the line by about 1/4 inch. They got here as I was sawing off the last rail. So I got some help spiking down the last piece.